The European Cup concluded mid-March with the Finals in Soldeu / El Tarter, where the World Cup Finals will be held next season. As every season, the Top 3 of each discipline, as well as the Overall winner, get a personal qualification for the World Cup Tour. Here is a summary of what happened, and who you should put on your “ones-to-watch” list for next season.
After 6 downhill races, the winning trio is Ariane Raedler (AUT, 1995), Nina Ortlieb (AUT, 1996) and Lisa Hoernblad (SWE, 1996). With three wins in Crans-Montana (twice) and in Soldeu / El Tarter, Ariane Raedler dominated the discipline. The 23 years old skier from Vorarlberg could even enjoy her first World Cup start in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The Swede, who already finished on the podium in downhill, was able to end the season at the very top of the super-g ranking, despite racing on both the World and the European Cup Tours. With one win and three further podiums this season (out of six races), Lisa Hoernblad scored 16 more points than Nina Ortlieb, second of the season ranking. Nadine Fest (AUT, 1998) completes that podium.
Also in the alpine combined Lisa Hoernblad was the best this season. Only two races were held in Innerkrems and Kvitfjell, one won by Hoernblad, the other by Franziska Gritsch (AUT, 1997), who finished in second of the season ranking. With two third places, Chiara Mair (AUT, 1996) was able to squeeze in between.
The giant slalom, the nine races of the season couldn’t break the tie between the Norwegians Thea Louise Stjernesund (1996) and Kristine Gjelsten Haugen (1992). Celebrating two wins in Zinal and La Molina, and two further podium placements, the skier from Hakadal Thea Louise Stjernesund is shortly ahead of Kristine Gjelsten Haugen, who earned one win in Soldeu and two second places. Austrian Katharina Liensberger, who also raced on the World Cup Tour and grabbed not less than five Top 10 in slalom, finished in third place of the European Cup giant slalom standings.
In slalom, nine races were held this season and Aline Danioth (SUI, 1998) emerged victorious without a win but four podiums and strong performances throughout the season. Two wins (Funesdalen and Zell am See) and three further podiums were not enough for Marina Wallner (GER, 1994) to win the standings, but she finishes second. Kristine Gjelsten Haugen rounds out that podium.
With these results, the Overall win on the ladies’ side went to Nina Ortlieb (AUT, 1996) Second in the downhill, 2nd in the super-g, 9th in the alpine combined and 8th in the giant slalom EC rankings, the Austrian will now have a chance to prove herself on the World Cup Tour in all the disciplines. She did score an 11th place in St-Moritz 2016 and four Top 30 this season already.
The downhills were very fought for this season, with six winners out of seven races. And only one of the winners made it on the podium of the season ranking: Christopher Neumayer (AUT, 1992) was the fastest in the second EC downhill in Kvitfjell and snagged the season title, 13 points ahead of Italy’s Werner Heel and 23 points ahead of Urs Kryenbuehel (SUI, 1994).
In the super-g, it’s a similar situation, with six winners out of six races! Christoph Krenn (AUT, 1994), who participated in some World Cups and scored his first points this season, finished at the top of the EC ranking thanks to his win on the Reiteralm and solid performances throughout the season. Two Swiss youngguns complete the podium: Gian Luca Barandun (1994) is second and Stefan Rogentin (1994).
The two alpine combined races in Saalbach and Sarntal provided two winners, Johannes Strolz (AUT, 1992) and Marco Pfiffner (LIE, 1994), who finish tied in second place of the season ranking with 100 points each. Austrian Daniel Danklmaier (1993) wins that ranking with a 2nd and a 3rd place and celebrated his personal best performance on the World Cup this season, with a 18th place in the downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Another Austrian was able to win the European Cup standings in the giant slalom. With a win at the Finals in Soldeu, and a very constant season (he never finished beyond the 6th place!), Dominik Raschner (AUT, 1994) won the season ranking in that discipline. Five times junior World Champion Marco Odermatt (SUI, 1997) is second and Johannes Strolz is third.
Croatian slalom whiz Matej Vidovic (1993) claimed two wins and three further podiums this season on the 10 slalom races held on the European Cup, and was able to grab the season standings. Despite his three wins and four podiums, Marc Rochat (SUI, 1992) could not match the Croatian’s consistency and finishes second on the European Cup Tour. No big deal for the Swiss, has he could celebrated an incredible 6th place in the World Cup slalom in Kranjska Gora this season. Third place goes to Johannes Strolz.
Overall, the most constant and strongest male athlete on the European Cup Tour is Austrian Johannes Strolz. The athlete, specialized in the tech disciplines, was able to podium in the slalom, giant slalom and alpine combined rankings. With the Overall win, he claimed a personal qualification for all the disciplines on the World Cup Tour next season.